Dating and courtship rituals have changed over the centuries, but judging from the vintage personal ad below, a nice smile has always been a selling point for potential partners.
This newspaper listing from 1865 spotted by Elite Daily lists the qualities of a single, 18-year-old man from Maine, including "a good set of teeth." Oxford University researcher Max Roser rediscovered the plea for romance, and posted a Twitter image of the ad for our modern enjoyment.
Dating apps (or, for that matter, the internet) didn’t exist during the 19th century, so singles sometimes posted carefully worded newspaper bulletins to snag a spouse. In this particular case, the man chose to open the ad by highlighting his full-toothed grin—a desirable trait, considering the era’s questionable dental hygiene practices.
The Maine man goes on to describe his patriotism, his thriving career as a farmer, and his many pets: sheep, a 2-year-old bull, and two young female cows. And if toothy charm alone weren't enough to attract a partner, his desire for commitment and willingness to spoil her—combined with a hint of endearing vulnerability—hopefully would.
"I want to get married," the ad concludes. "I want to buy bread-and-butter, hoop skirts, and waterfalls for some person of the female persuasion during life. That’s what’s the matter with me. But I don’t know how to do it."
[h/t Elite Daily]